In acknowledgement of its community and charitable achievements, Michigan International Speedway has been named “Track of the Year” by the NASCAR Foundation for the second consecutive year. One of the speedway’s projects named by the NASCAR Foundation is its “Track and Explore” program which, in conjunction with Adrian College, hosts field trips for youth in the area with the emphasis on nature and conservation. The fact that in 2012 the speedway donated up to $75,000 to local charities through its MIS Cares platform was also noted in the award citation. Other programs and events organized by the Michigan International Speedway include NASCAR Unites, Racing to Read, Extreme Bus Make Over, Charity Drive, Fish Your Bass Off and the Spirit of America blood donation drive.
Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis noted in an interview that all MIS employees and volunteers are passionate about giving back to the community and making it stronger. Stating that it’s an honor to be named the NASCAR Foundation’s Track of the Year, and that receiving it for two years is incredible, Curtis also emphasized that the speedway aims to continue being a leader in giving to the community. In addition to the programs mentioned, MIS Cares supports Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation and the Ryan Newman Foundation in their charitable efforts.
Since being founded in 2006, the NASCAR Foundation has contributed over $15 million to charitable causes, and through its annual Speediatrics has been instrumental in providing medical treatment for more than 24,000 children. More than 2,000 children have had their NASCAR Dreams fulfilled, while over 1,200 special-needs children have enjoyed a summer camp experience thanks to the Foundation. More than 12,000 NASCAR fans have been recruited into the Volunteer Network which facilitates educational opportunities for students, with the emphasis on science and engineering. Clearly, the NASCAR Foundation is fulfilling its mission to embody the compassion of the NASCAR Family and its commitment to serving communities.
In its ongoing efforts to “go green” NASCAR racing teams have reportedly committed to use a 15% ethanol blend (E15) in all three of its 2013 national racing series – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck – being 50% more ethanol than the E10 blend available at US service stations. Moreover, NASCAR has set a goal of planting enough trees to offset carbon emissions produced by its race cars, noting that a single tree has the potential of absorbing a metric ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime which is roughly equivalent to the carbon dioxide produced by a race car travelling 500 miles.
A number of NASCAR affiliates and partners are joining in the tree planting initiative. Ford has committed to planting one tree for every lap led by a Ford driver during April, with UPS joining forces with the Arbor Day Foundation in an effort to plant more than 8,000 trees as a celebration of this annual event. (National Arbor Day in the United States is observed on the last Friday in April each year, although individual states may have Arbor Day on different dates according to their optimal time for tree planting.) Through NASCAR’s Green website, fans are being encouraged to support the “NASCAR Green Clean Air Tree Planting Program™” with donations. A number of regions that have recently been hit by natural disasters have been identified as targets for the tree planting project, and those donating can choose which area they would like their donation to be used in.
The other NASCAR Green initiative is the “NASCAR Race to GREEN™” project designed to motivate fans, teams, tracks, drivers, and official NASCAR Partners to protect our environment. NASCAR is committed to environmental sustainability and recycling programs. At NASCAR tracks Coca-Cola and Coors Light provide bins for recycling plastic bottle and aluminum cans, while Safety-Kleen Systems recycles and re-refines all oil and lubricant used in racing, and Goodyear facilitates an effective tire recycling program. Other NASCAR Green partners include Creative Recycling, Freightliner, Green Earth Technologies, Green Plains Renewable Energy, Growth Energy, Miller Coors, NCGA, McLaren, New Holland Agriculture, POET, Sprint, Sunoco, Toyota, UPS, Novozymes, and 3M.
In a statement NASCAR CEO Brian France said that the NASCAR Green program in April is the “most ambitious and collective effort to date in reducing the sport’s impact on the environment”. Clearly, NASCAR Green is an initiative worth supporting.